Will You Be Ready – You’re Dead, Now What?
For our final contribution to the Mom & Caregiver, we provide a primer on the basic action plan for
dealing with the Estate of your loved one.
- Locate and Examine the Last Will and Testament: Make this a priority. A review of your loved
one’s most current Will can yield important and time-sensitive information. Many Testators
indicate their preference for burial or cremation within their Wills, and some may specify a
preferred cemetery. It will also identify who has been appointed to administer the Estate. If you
are the named Estate Trustee, it’s time to take charge.
- Ensure the funeral, memorial, burial or cremation services are handled: Any related “end of life”
costs will be paid out of the Estate.
- Obtain Death Certificates: Be sure to obtain as many death certificates as your funeral home will
allow. These certificates will be required by government bodies, banks and financial institutions
to begin to settle your loved one’s affairs.
- Maintain insurance coverages: Don’t let home and vehicle insurance lapse; maintain coverage
until final disposition.
- 5. Safeguard Estate assets: Take important personal documents into your custody. Gather the Will,
Codicils, memorandums or notes, banking and tax papers and keep them safe. Secure all
physical assets and property of value early on, including the home, household contents and
vehicles along with any cash, jewellery or other valuables.
- Prepare an inventory of the assets: Record-keeping and transparency are the hallmarks of the
Estate Trustee’s role. Make an inventory of all physical assets and gather banking and financial
statements that detail your loved one’s savings and investments on or about the date of death.
The Courts could require the Trustee to provide detailed accounting of the Estate assets.
- Meet with an Estate Lawyer: Arrange to sit down with an Estate lawyer early to review what
you’ve done so far and to determine next steps and what items may require Probate through
the Court. This will provide essential guidance on how to properly administer your loved one’s
Estate and will protect the Trustee.
Jamie Froats is an associate lawyer with Jim Dean Law who specializes in
the firm’s Wills and Estate business.